Speaker Paul Ryan leans over as Kevin McCarthy speaks in his ear. Photo: Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan told NBC's Chuck Todd that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy should replace him, either as Leader or Speaker, when he retires.

Why it matters: House Republicans are in an exceptionally tough spot for the midterms, and Ryan's decision to not run for reelection only added to concerns that Democrats have a shot at becoming the majority. But by having a clear replacement in place, like McCarthy who is known and trusted within the GOP, Republicans have someone they can rally behind as Nov. 6 edges closer.

"We all think that Kevin is the right person."
— Paul Ryan

Yes, but: Ryan said he doesn't want to have a vote to replace him now, adding that he thinks the party needs to focus on their agenda and holding on to the majority, and anything apart from that "would be needless distraction."

View from the White House: As Axios' Jonathan Swan and Mike Allen have reported, President Trump loves McCarthy, and consults him frequently for advice.

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Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre"

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that efforts by certain White House officials to discredit him are "bizarre" and that it "ultimately hurts the president" to undermine a top health official in the middle of a pandemic.

Driving the news: Fauci's comments come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who claimed that Fauci has been "wrong about everything" related to the coronavirus that the two have interacted on. Fauci told The Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself.”

3 hours ago - Health

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for coronavirus

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.

Why it matters: The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, which the county's health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 13,397,167 — Total deaths: 580,388 — Total recoveries — 7,449,477Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 3,459,053 — Total deaths: 136,900 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. States: Alabama's GOP governor issues statewide mask mandate — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive.
  4. Politics: Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre" — Trump says Navarro shouldn't have written op-ed attacking Fauci.